40 Best 8th Grade Science Experiments for Classrooms or Science Fairs

For many students, eighth grade is science fair time! Students are also looking ahead to high school science subjects like chemistry and physics, and the work they do now will help prepare them for success. This list of hands-on eighth grade science learning activities has some ideas that are perfect for science fair projects, while others make terrific classroom experiments. Either way, kids are going to have a little fun and learn a whole lot!

1. Drop an egg to prove the first law of motion

This experiment looks like a magic trick, but it’s firmly grounded in Newton’s First Law of Motion. When you knock the pie tin out of the way, the egg falls straight into the glass, thanks to inertia. (Worried about making a mess? Use plastic eggs instead.)

Learn more: Steve Spangler Science

2. Assemble a Newton’s cradle

Newton's Cradle built of wood craft sticks, yarn, and marbles

Newton’s cradle is a fascinating way of demonstrating momentum and energy transfer. Follow the directions at the link to build one, or challenge eighth grade science students to experiment with their own construction methods.

Learn more: Babble Dabble Do

3. Blow out a candle with a balloon

Student's hand holding a bottle next to a lit candle, then showing the candle blown out

Blowing up a balloon with baking soda and vinegar is the classic acids and bases experiment. Take it a step further by experimenting with the carbon dioxide it produces. (Don’t be afraid of fire in the science classroom! Here’s why you should try it. )

Learn more: Edventures With Kids

4. Relight a candle without touching it

Student's hand holding a lighter over a candle that has just been blown out (Eighth Grade Science)

While you’ve got the candles out, try this demonstration. Tell students you’re going to relight a candle without touching the flame to the wick. The results will boggle their minds! 

Learn more: Steve Spangler Science

5. Measure and compare lung capacity

Two eighth grade science students measuring the circumference of a blue balloon

This experiment combines math and biology to measure lung capacity using a balloon. There are a lot of interesting hypotheses students can form, document, and explore while taking these measurements.

Learn more: Blog She Wrote

6. Conduct fingerprint analysis

Large fingerprint in black ink on white paper (Eighth Grade Science)

Budding forensic scientists will love this idea. Learn to dust for prints and try a technique called “fuming” for trickier surfaces. See if you can compare prints and make accurate matches in the classroom.

Learn more: Home Science Tools

7. Engineer a roller coaster loop

Two students building a marble roller coaster from foam insulation tubes

Kids may have created marble roller coasters before, but have they ever built one with a loop-de-loop? They’ll have to experiment to find out which initial height gives a marble the speed it needs to complete the journey.

Learn more: Science Buddies

8. Extract your own DNA

Test tube with cloudy liquid and small white floating strand (Eighth Grade Science)

DNA is the blueprint of life, and you’ll be surprised at how easy it is to extract your own with a few simple supplies. Preserve it in alcohol in the freezer when you’re done.

Learn more: Home Science Tools

9. Separate water into hydrogen and oxygen

Eighth grade girl wearing goggles, looking at a container of water with test tubes and electric wires

Use electrolysis to prove that water really is made up of hydrogen and oxygen. It’s a simple concept, but one that never fails to amaze.

Learn more: Navigating by Joy

10. Build a circuit to detect ripe produce

Electrical equipment set up to conduct an experiment (Eighth Grade Science)

Here’s a science fair project that’s sure to impress. Build a circuit that can differentiate between two different colors, then use it to tell which tomatoes are ripe and which aren’t!

Learn more: Science Buddies

11. Discover the strength of interleaved paper

Orange clamps holding sticky notes to a piece of wood, with a binder clip at the bottom holding paper clips (Eighth Grade Science)

Paper seems smooth and slides apart easily, right? This experiment challenges that notion by interleaving multiple pieces of paper and testing their strength. It’s an easy project with fascinating results.

Learn more: Science Buddies

12. Guide a growing plant through a maze

A plant in a cardboard box, growing in a twisted pattern through holes toward light at the top

Prove that plants really do seek out the light by setting up a simple or complex maze. This is a simple eighth grade science project with really cool results.

Learn more: KiwiCo

13. Find out if peppermint improves reaction time

Hand taking an Altoid mint from a tin, with a keyboard and other small items (Eighth Grade Science)

Round up some friends and family who are willing to be guinea pigs, then find out if peppermint candy really does improve concentration and reaction time—and test scores.

Learn more: Science Buddies

14. Turn juice into spheres

You’ll need a few special supplies for this experiment, but the results are so cool. Spherification is a chemical process that’s become popular with food scientists, and your 8th grade science students will get a kick out of seeing it in action. 

Learn more: Science Buddies

15. Raise a hydraulic elevator

Simple hydraulic elevator made from wood craft sticks, rubber tubing, and plastic syringes

This hydraulics project was originally written for younger kids, but it works for older ones just as well. They can tinker around with the design and see just how much weight their elevator can hold.

Learn more: Teach Beside Me

16. Grow a carbon sugar snake

Tin pan of sand with large carbon snake growing out of it (Eighth Grade Science)

Remember those little black pellets that fire up into long snakes on the Fourth of July? This is the same concept, but much bigger! The simple chemical reaction of sugar and baking soda makes it happen.

Learn more: KiwiCo

17. Generate a Lichtenberg figure

Lightning pattern made on piece of acrylic with photocopier toner

Lichtenberg figures capture the branching path of electricity as it travels through an object. You can make your own in a variety of ways, including burning it into wood or acrylic.

Learn more: Science Notes

18. Teach a computer to play tic-tac-toe

Clear X and O figures on a black background

This intermediate Javascript coding project requires some very basic background programming knowledge. It’s perfect for kids with an interest in all things computers.

Learn more: Science Buddies

19. Cast animal tracks

Plaster cast of dog footprint next to autumn leaves, dated 7/25/15

Explore wildlife biology by becoming an expert tracker! Learn to identify tracks and take casts, even if you can’t go for a hike in the woods.

Learn more: Blog She Wrote

20. Construct a Rube Goldberg machine

Car running down a ramp toward a series of dominos, mounted on a pegboard (Eighth Grade Science)

Create a machine to complete a simple task in the most complicated fashion! This is a neat 8th grade science project because it allows you to use a variety of physics concepts in a fun way. See an example in this YouTube Video, and learn more about Rube Goldberg machines here.

21. Block the sun’s UV rays

8th Grade Science UV Steve Spangler

Use color-changing UV beads (readily available online) to test the protective power of medicine bottles, hats, clothing, and more. This is an 8th grade science experiment with nearly endless possibilities.

Learn more: Steve Spangler Science

22. Build an infinity mirror

Two mirrors showing reflection of lights stretching into the distance

Experiment with optical illusions by creating a tunnel of lights that seems to stretch away into infinity. 8th grade students will learn about engineering and the physics of optics along the way.

Learn more: Science Buddies

23. Brew up some root beer

Bowl filled with root beer and dry ice, spilling over with white vapors (Eighth Grade Science)

Who says science can’t be delicious? Plus, any experiment where you get to use dry ice is always fun (take proper safety precautions, please). This yummy project teaches chemical reactions and, of course, requires a taste test. 

Learn more: Steve Spangler Science

24. Construct a cup holder

Student showing a foil platform balanced on drinking straws, holding two yellow plastic cups of water

Can your 8th grade science students build a device to stabilize and carry two cups of water, using only a few simple supplies? Oh, and can they manage it in just 5 minutes? This timed challenge pushes their creative engineering limits!

Learn more: Homeschool Creations

25. Test water quality

Water quality testing kit with TDS meter

A student water testing kit opens up limitless options for 8th grade science experiments. Test the water quality of local streams, swimming pools, or even their taps at home.

Learn more: The Homeschool Scientist

26. Assemble a spring scale

Red plastic bucket suspended by several paper clips from a spring on a hook (Eighth Grade Science)

Apply Hooke’s Law to find out if the stretching of a spring can be used to accurately measure the weight of objects. The materials are simple, but you’ll need patience and physics to calibrate a spring and use it to test weights.

Learn more: Science Buddies

27. Extract bismuth from Pepto-Bismol

Black mortar filled with pink powder and a pestle

This is the kind of project that really makes you feel like a scientist. Grinding tablets with a mortar and pestle, filtering in beakers, heating over a Bunsen burner… kids will need supervision and some special materials, but their inner chemist will love it all.

Learn more: Popular Science

28. Make a solar desalinator

Plastic wrap covered container of water linked to a cup by drinking straw

Clean fresh water is a valuable commodity. Construct solar-powered desalination devices with readily available materials, and find the most effective desalination methods.

Learn more: Science Buddies

29. Perform a starch test with iodine

Test tube with yellow liquid labeled neg, test tube with black liquid labeled pos, and stoppered bottle filled with iodine (Eighth Grade Science)

This simple chemistry experiment uses iodine to determine the starch content of food items. In a world that’s become more aware of the effects of starch on our diet, this seems like a timely activity.

Learn more: Biology Notes for IGCSE

30. Keep your hands warm

Man rubbing hands together with plastic bag of black liquid in between

If you live in a chilly part of the world, chances are you’ve seen chemical hand-warmers for sale. In this 8th grade science experiment, you’ll make your own hand-warmer by harnessing the power of oxidation.

Learn more: Steve Spangler Science

31. Explore symbiosis with nitrogen-fixing bacteria

Frozen peas next to two plant containers labeled control and bacteria (Eighth Grade Science)

Many plants depend on nitrogen for growth, but how important is it? This science project compares the growth of pea plants with and without nitrogen-fixing bacteria.

Learn more:

32. Crash cars for science

Collage of STM car crash project images

This is a great class project for teachers, but it’s also excellent for an 8th grade science fair experiment. Build cars and crash-test them to learn the best methods of keeping passengers safe.

Learn more: The Ardent Teacher

33. Discover the center of gravity

Wood craft stick balanced on end on a pencil, with orange pipe cleaner twisted around it (Eighth Grade Science)

Once you find and maintain its center of gravity, almost any object will balance, even in surprising circumstances. This is such a fun concept to play around with!

Learn more: Rookie Parenting

34. Power up homemade batteries

Bottle of distilled white vinegar, paper towel, aluminum foil, duct tape, pennies, electrical wires, and voltmeter

Building batteries is a classic science experiment for any age. Make it into a project by trying different variables and exploring the amount of power you can produce.

Learn more: 123 Homeschool 4 Me

35. Examine the connection between personality and memory

Notecard labeled Personality Type INFJ and worksheet labeled Memory Tests

Do introverts have better memories than extroverts? This science project aims to find out. Round up some willing volunteers and administer the Meyers-Briggs personality test, then challenge your subjects with a memory test. The results may or may not surprise you!

Learn more:

36. Concoct and test your own shampoo

Mixing bowl with castille soap, jar of water, essential oils, and herbs

Ever wonder what makes shampoo effective? In this experiment, you’ll cook up your own recipes and try them out to see which ingredients work best.

Learn more: Science Buddies

37. Fuel a film canister rocket

Film cannister rocket taking off from a red plastic plate (Eighth Grade Science)

Fire a film canister into the air using the chemical reactions of Alka-Seltzer. Once you’ve mastered the basic process, experiment with different strengths of solutions and sizes of container to see how high your rocket can go.

Learn more: Steve Spangler Science

38. Stand on a pile of paper cups

Student standing on top of a structure built from cardboard sheets and paper cups

Combine physics and engineering and challenge 8th grade science students to create a paper cup structure that can support their weight. This is a cool project for aspiring architects.

Learn more: Science Sparks

39. Create a rainbow of flames

Flames of orange, yellow, green, pink, and red against a black background

You can change the color of fire by adding chemicals found at your local grocery store—what a sight! This experiment is easy to set up, but of course, requires safety precautions.

Learn more: ThoughtCo

40. Get your laundry really clean

Container of OxiClean with beakers of liquid on a counter (Eighth Grade Science)

Find out if all those laundry detergent commercials are really telling the truth with this 8th grade science fair experiment. Test their cleaning power on a variety of stains and fabrics, and analyze your results.

Learn more: Steve Spangler Science

Engage your eighth grade science students further with these 16 Science Kits for Middle and High School That Make Hands-on Lessons Easy.

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